Kitsap Audubon at Advocacy Day

Several of us from Kitsap Audubon Society met today with our representatives. We had wonderful talks with Senator Christine Rolfes and Representative Drew Hansen of the 23rd Legislative District about Washington Audubon’s legislative priorities for 2021—which are to ensure the budget continues to protect habitat and species and that programs are instituted to fight the climate crisis.

The COVID crisis and the recession hit hard this year, and quite rightly, large expenditures are being made to help people. At the same time, the climate crisis is still advancing and species are going extinct, so sacrificing habitat and species, and not taking action on climate change, will just make the future more painful and more costly than we’re already committed to. We live in challenging times, so we must be creative at many levels. I’m glad our 23rd District representatives are the quality legislators they are.

Protecting habitat and species will be aided in 2021 through good funding of the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, the WA Wildlife and Recreation Program, the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund, and the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program.

Climate change threatens to blow the door down on everyone—human and nonhuman, and we need to pursue climate action at many levels. Locally, we in Washington can join our Pacific coast neighbors (British Columbia, Oregon, and California) and pass a clean fuel standard, a move that will move our transportation toward electrification. Transportation is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington State. A clean fuel standard will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s something that Washington and all states must do.

Issuing green bonds (certified to ensure that investments go toward projects with measurable and environmental benefits) is one means to help protect the environment and fight climate change—while also raising money.

Finally, the Growth Management Act should be updated to include planning for climate change. In 2021, we live in a new reality—one where climate change is hitting us here in Washington with forest fires, ocean acidification, and species’ extinction. To ignore the reality that is here and the reality that is coming will make responding to that change more difficult. The GMAs should be updated to acknowledge the new world we live in.

            — MRM

Advocacy Day pre-COVID-19

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